A man who drove on the wrong side of a Chula Vista roadway during an apparent high-speed street race, triggering a crash that killed a woman and injured her two grandchildren, pleaded guilty Wednesday to vehicular manslaughter and reckless driving charges.
Alonso Pina, 23, faces five years in state prison for the June 5, 2021, death of Martha Villalobos Romo, whose vehicle was struck at the intersection of Third Avenue and L Street.
Police said Pina was driving on the wrong side of the road at around 6 p.m. and ran a red light at the intersection, striking Villalobos Romo's Nissan Altima. She died at the scene, and her 7 and 10-year- old grandchildren were hospitalized with minor injuries.
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Pina was also hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries and booked into county jail two days later.
Police said that prior to the crash, Pina was believed to have been racing with the driver of a white Subaru WRX who remains unidentified. Pina is scheduled for sentencing on March 17.
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At a vigil days after the crash, Villalobos Romo's daughter Stephanie Villalobos told NBC 7, "My whole family is suffering for the loss of my mother who wasn't doing anything wrong."
She said her mother was returning from treating two of her grandchildren to McDonald’s, as she often did. She also said her mother had survived multiple heart surgeries and health problems, including COVID-19, but it the end, "A stupid decision is what took her."